tv Presidential Debate Current October 16, 2012 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
hat on backwards. >> stephanie: whatever! happy debate night everybody. we'll see you tomorrow on our regular edition of the talking liberally "the stephanie miller show"." [ ♪ theme music ♪ ] [♪ theme music ♪] >> eliot: good evening, and welcome to mritly direct current tv east continuing coverage of the presidential debate. tonight the second debate from nasa county new york a townhall-style debate where the president will try to rebound from what was clearly a
disastrous debate from a couple of weeks ago. i'm joined by my colleagues governor jennifer granholm the two-term governor of michigan who gave the best speech of the democratic convention bar none. john fugelsang who's satiric commentary leaves us laughing every night. and you're going to explain how we use social media tonight. >> john: indeed. and we're here debating from my hometown, the great isle of long. current tv is where we want you to be on tv with us. if you look right below, you'll see our brand new and improved twitter screen. throughout the debate you will be able to watch not just the candidates but the feedback of your fellow americans, different media outlets, all of the shows here on current, including cenk
who is with his brand new baby on the west coast. and if you want to hear what people are heckling to the candidates throughout the entire evening. this is the place to be. if you include the hashtag in your tweet, you will see your tweet come up on the screen so try to have an attractive profile picture tonight. the steaks are high. so you can be part of this great electronic family. >> jennifer: i want to start our conversation by asking you guys a question. does barack obama go after the flip flopping mitt? does he go after the lying mitt? does he go after the severely conservative mitt? >> eliot: i think they all
converge into one. the flip flops, lies -- >> jennifer: what is the best line of attack -- >> eliot: i think the lack of integrity factually in hits positions. showing that what he has said is simply factually and demonstrably wrong. and i think that the argument that resinated most at the convention, bill clinton's brilliant use of at arithmetic. it shows your plan doesn't work. it radiates out from there. >> jennifer: i would say his lack of integrity in the fact that he has no moral core, he will present himself as whoever he is speaking to or whoever he wants to please, and the problem with that for the folks out in america is that you do not know what you are buying. and if you are buying the
severely conservative guy who's plan was written by the neo-cons, then we are going to get a dangerous administration. >> john: i think if the president goes into it with the approach that mitt romney has no moral core and says things like liar, he will be accused of being unpresidential. as a politician he believes in one thing; that he is meant to be president. and through that prism all of his flip flops make perfect sense. so i think president obama can easily shade that by saying i know governor romney has had a new positions on this issue dot, dot dot -- if he allows himself to whatever he is subtly do to put a wedge between mitt romney and the middle class, i think you'll see a different ow
come. >> eliot: i because his performance was so lackluster but he didn't present his affirmative case, so before he can go after mitt romney he needs to make his affirmative case, and explain why he want him to continue as president. and then go after mitt romney. i think it's a little dicey if he goes right after mitt romney. >> jennifer: that's for sure. >> eliot: we near a townhall setting. in the vice presidential debate it was the three in the first debate it was really mitt romney and nobody else, so mitt romney had the entire stage. tonight you have a real person a citizen -- somebody whom you have got to interact with. did you ever have a townhall-type debate? >> jennifer: no. i was had a one on one kind of debate. >> eliot: have you in the comedy context?
>> we have people called hecklers. but i do think it is very much about performance. and you guys know this way better than i do i think when it comes to a debate of this magnitude words don't matter as much as style and tone. my theory has held true for two debates that the guy who looks like is having the most fun is the guy who wins the debate. >> jennifer: i would say that's right, but his opportunity to speak with clarity about the choice that is before america and that's what i mean by a moral choice -- this is a choice. what kind of country do we want to be? and the president can say there are two fundamentally different positions, do you want trickle down, hands off, or a nation that comes together to make sure we are all served and work together to build a country? i think that fundamental choice is what the president has to be
crystal clear and strong about. >> john: i think you are right. you mentioned the hard core right-wing mitt. last time the president prepared for a debate with hard-core mitt, and got the moderate instead. and keep in mind those of us in the news nerd community have been following this for a year know all of the stuff by bain capital and all of these stories, so barack obama can run a greatest hits album that have been brought up and be a cliff notes for the last 18 months. >> eliot: and that's what he didn't do last time. >> john: i agree. >> eliot: he showed convergence -- >> jennifer: exactly. >> john: he nice-guy tactic. >> eliot: the difference -- this
is an election where you have making a choice. >> jennifer: absolutely. >> eliot: you are voting for one or the other. and it's very simple. >> jennifer: right he has got to get mitt romney to the place where he was in the primary. was that he has got to say is the true mitt romney. that's why he has to make this about that tea party kind of aura that mitt romney had to take in the primary. >> john: which is why both campaigns are where they were when the election season began. mitt romney wants it to be a referendum barack obama wants it to be a choice. >> eliot: all right. who will have a chance to ask questions? are they really undecided? and how can you be undecided after years of this campaign going on. [ laughter ] >> jennifer: who are you. >> eliot: with us.
(vo) what is said here could decide the election. current tv presents special event coverage of the presidential debate. with unrivaled analysis and commentary. >> you're going to hear that used as a major talking point. (vo) the only network with real-time reaction straight from the campaigns and from viewers like you. >> now that's politially direct. >>start the night with a special live edition of "talking liberally with stephanie miller" at 7 eastern. only on current tv. >> jennifer: welcome back to current tv's continuing coverage of these fantastic presidential debates. tonight we're going to david shuster who is on the ground and give us a feel for how these
people are selected who will be in the townhall and how the questions are selected. can you give us a feel for that david? >> sure. we're here in the hall where all of the presidents tonight and the crowd are gathering, the gallop organization, the poll organization, they started calling and trying to decide if there was a pool here in the county. and within the last week or so they went back and identified 80 to 85 undecided voters and informed them, okay, would you like to president in the presidential townhall? each of those people who had been cabbed were invited to show up here earlier this morning, instructed to bring two questions each and then the presidential debate commission officials along with candy crowley and her staff and producers, they went through the 160 questions, so figure out
what are the ten or 12 that would make for a really good townhall debate. cnn producers have been involved in doing standard background can checks, to see if any of these people have given money to a campaign, where have they registered to vote, is there anything in their background that could embarrass the commission or candy crowley. at this point, cnn knows which of the nine or ten questions they are going to try to get in and the people arrived here as if they are in their sunday best. a couple of things about the format, once the individuals ask their question governor romney president obama will each have the standard two minutes to respond and then there will be a five-minute window in which they can interact with each other.
there has been some debate and controversy here about the role that candy crowley would play. would she ask some of her own follow-up questions? but she will facilitate a five-minute conversation, and then they will go to another audience member. as far as the spin that we have gotten from both campaigns, they have suggested that there are three es the president has to show empathy energy, and enthusiasm. and the democrats would be thrilled if president obama can target women voters. talk about women's rights or abortion coverage or draw the distinction with mitt romney on those issues because the polling has indicated that that's where they have seen the
largest erosion in the president's support. and mitt romney is going to try to avoid the robotic signs. >> jennifer: fantastic reports. one logistical question was a coin toss determining who goes first in the first question and then flip after that? >> yeah, that's my understanding. i'm not sure if it was a coin toss before the first debate but i believe there was another coin toss today that would determine who would get the first question. >> jennifer: all right. we'll be back with you out there to get the spin from you, and we really appreciate you -- >> eliot: dave, question for you. there's no opening statement, i gather. so it's straight into the first question. but is there a summation at the end? is there going to be a book end
here or just the q&a. >> my understanding is there's no opening or closing statement. what candy crowley will do is try to finish with a question that allows some sort of summary, i suppose. but it's up to candy crowley to dictate what they are going to talk about at the end. >> jennifer: all right. thank you for joining us and we will be right back with more coverage of this fantastic second debate -- he hope it is fantastic here at current tv. stay right with us.
>> john: i do. number one i think the president after secretary clinton made her comment, i think the president has to have a buck stops here moment. and say i'm commander in chief, i take responsibility above my secretary of state, and i would like to see the president say when we were attacked by terrorists on 9/11 2001 the democratic party didn't use it as a cheap political chip. no one used it against president bush. what we have seen here is the opposite of our behavior then. here it has been the republican party that divided america, and they have exploited the tragic death of these four americans. if he does that he can take the narrative back, and also point out yes, there was confusion.
when we went in to iraq on bad intelligence we found out there were no wmd. >> jennifer: i think you are right. if he said the buck stops here and takes responsibility for his overall administration and obviously there was some sort of wall there but he is responsible. hilary clinton would not have gone out there taking responsible, if the white house didn't know she was going to do that. >> john: point good. >> eliot: i think you are right conceptually, but i'm worried if he takes the moment to turn it back, he looks like the one that sun presidential. i'm sorried that that would play into a mitt romney response -- >> john: but they want him to be a human punching bag -- >> jennifer: this conversation
right here is mirroring the debate coach's job. >> eliot: yes, you are right. and they are completely useless most times. >> jennifer: or they may be very right and the president has to make the judgment call. and on the issue of choice, if barack obama does not put it to mitt romney directly and say to him, the world that you would live in -- where you would appoint justices that would re rescind roe v. wade and make abortion illegal, and a lot of states would say fetuses have the right of a human being who so gets the longer sentence the woman or her doctor.
>> john: exactly. i think he needs to get brutally specific. ruth bader ginsberg is 120 years ole -- >> jennifer: she is not. >> john: okay. i'm exaggerating. but if you succeed in repealing roe v. wade will you still support abortion in cases of rape or incest. i want to see mitt romney answer that question, and finally in a recent gallup poll last spring it showed that only 43% of americans identified them as pro choice. but 77% of americans support women's reproductive rights in some or all cases. and i would like to see him use that to his advantage.
>> joy: and if i were the president i would say republicans are pro birth. they are not pro-life because if they were truly pro life they would be supporting the child once the child is born and that paul ryan budget slashes things that are critically important to the health and welfare of children. >> eliot: justice ginsberg is not 120 years old -- >> john: and we wish her many decades left. >> eliot: she has been spectacular, but all of that aside for a minute. there are a series of polls that show that the gender gap has disappeared, have they asked why? why shifted 10, 12% of female voters so they seem to have forgotten or don't care about these issues -- >> jennifer: because he seems
like a reasonable person. he didn't seem like a wild tea party guy. >> john: we won the debate on tone and demeanor >> eliot: and i don't remember the word choice being brought up. >> jennifer: right. it wasn't. when we come back we'll talk about the influence of candy crowley in this debate and the debate that has happened about her role. so we'll be right back. (vo) during the debates, it's hard to know what candidates are thinking. unless, of course you've stood at the podium yourself. with governors granholm, spitzer, and vice president gore, watch the only truly experienced presidential debate coverage.
>> jennifer: we're back with current's coverage of the second presidential debate. eliot spitzer is sitting next to me and happens to be a huge yankees fan, and i'm a huge tiger's fan, i'm going to give him some facts -- since 1952 there have been 15 national elections, and the yankees have made it to post season nine times. >> only nine times since 52. >> jennifer: i'm just talking about post season -- >> eliot: in an election year -- >> jennifer: since 1952 there have been 15 national elections and the yankees made it to the post season nine times -- >> eliot: in those election years? >> jennifer: yes! yes! [ laughter ] >> john: they are fighting about
baseball, folks. >> jennifer: when the yankees win in post season democrats lose the presidential race. when the yankees lose generally republicans win. go tigers! where is your loyalty the country or the damn yankees? >> eliot: you are making more of the classic logical fallacies -- >> john: i can tell when it is an election year or non-election year because the mets aren't in the playoffs. [ laughter ] >> jennifer: let's talk about candy crowley. what impact does she have? if she does follow-ups do the candidates storm off of the stage? >> eliot: she is the most powerful person on the stage. she with pierce mitt romney's balloon, she can look him in the eye and say, sir, that does not add up.
does she want to do that? does she do it once to each of them? only she knows the answer. she is a great journalist it will be fun to watch. >> john: i had a soft spot in my heart ever since cnn inturned her on the bob dole campaign. she united the obama and romney campaigns earlier this week. he is said i at no, ma'am a fly on the wall. i'm going to react organically to what is happening. and later she told cnn, once the tone is get by a questioner there is time for me to say wait a second what about x, and z? both sides expressed concerns
about how the moderator has described her role. if candy crowley makes it about herself, there are no repercussions for cnn. >> jennifer: no. and she should do what she wants. my guess is the people are not going to be involved in the little tiny stories we follow all the time for example, the "washington post" today gave four pinocchio's to mitt romney's jobs plan. and i'm sure the president or candy crowley will say mr. romney what about the fact that your 12 million job claim has been ruled to be a complete lie? >> eliot: it is only the follow up question that actually pierces the talking point.
until you can be confronted it is like cross examination. you have to force either candidate to say, wait a minute the numbers simply don't add up. and candy can do that. >> john: a few weeks ago david gregory caught a world of grief, but if you looked on twitter it was completely decided. >> jennifer: he must have done a good job then. >> john: so me it says he did a good job if he alienated both sides that much. >> eliot: does the president utter the phase 47%? >> jennifer: absolutely. >> eliot: how does he use it to characterize an entire world view that mitt romney unfortunately has embodied. >> jennifer: i think he characterizes it by showing that this is what the man says behind
closed doors. therefore, that's the real mitt romney. what he is saying to you all to please you tonight is not the mitt romney because he has -- 60 million people are watching. what he says behind closed doors is what he really thinks. and i think he'll say it is something like a used car salesman, and he doesn't want you to look under the hood, but under the hood is the 47% comment. eliot you said that the president should put forward a positive agenda for the future as well as the good news about what his administration has achieved. i think we'll hear five-year low in foreclosures and those words definitely uttered -- because if he doesn't he is really missing an opportunity. >> eliot: i agree. >> john: i think the 47% is
something that allows the president to get specific. and he needs to say what did you mean, that seniors, veterans and the working poor -- >> jennifer: and he's say i misspoke. >> john: and then he said what did you mean when you said you misspoke -- >> eliot: the question reads well sounds good, but then you cede the floor. >> john: but he needs to say, who were you lying to? >> eliot: i think you use it but you don't turn it to a question
use it and make your argument and then force him to be left with it as you change the topic to something else. >> jennifer: but i think the point that john is making about the next morning -- it wasn't just an off the cuff statement. he defended it. and that would be how you get into it. you said this 47%, then later you said you were mistaken and then next day you doubled down and all of the republicans followed you down the rabbit hole. >> john: uh-huh. >> eliot: definition of a political gaffe, you tell the truth when you don't mean to. we're 13 minutes away from the rumble stick with us, we'll be right back. of the presidential debate. with unrivaled analysis and commentary. >> you're going to hear that used as a major talking point. (vo) the only network with real-time reaction straight from the campaigns and from viewers like you. >> now that's politially direct. >>start the night with a special
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>> eliot: welcome back to politically direct cur -- current tv's coverage of the second presidential debate. the president has to show he is in charge, he can speak with passion, empathy, knowledge of the fact and pushed back against mitt romney who has been surgent since the last debate. >> jennifer: yes, we all hope he brings his a game. >> eliot: but he likes pressure. >> jennifer: i think he does well under pressure. you used the word passion. i think he absolutely has to
bring a sense of fight for people. not directed at angered mitt romney but a commitment for the mission of what he is trying to achieve. so the middle class -- we out here feel like he is fighting for us. >> john: i think you nailed it, it's about passion not about anger. i know a lot of my friends would love to see him pitch a fit and say i have never apologized for america overseas, and joseph smith's story doesn't check out. and he needs to realize himself on a personal level how much is at steak if governor romney gets in. >> eliot: yes, one word is optimism. anger and optimism don't usually go together. >> jennifer: yes. >> eliot: optimism is what he
has to capture. and empathy and optimism is hard to balance. >> jennifer: it's optimism and determination. he is going to lay out his future plan, and be specific and optimistic about what it will generate. he has to acknowledge that we have not arrived at the promise land yet. >> john: and america is better off now than it was four years ago. >> jennifer: yes. >> john: in january 2009 we were losing 800,000 jobs that month. and he can point out that maybe the reason that governor romney won't release his tax returns is because he doesn't want y'all to know he is better off than he was four years ago. >> jennifer: exactly. >> eliot: we also have to acknowledge where the white house has been a little weaker
has been articulating something new about a jobs plan. >> jennifer: he as a five-point's jobs plan and mitt romney has a five-point jobs plan. they both want to focus on energy. they both have a training component of what they would like to do. increase exports. concur the deficit. it's pretty -- it's ironic that they both have a similar plan. >> eliot: what you just said is treacherous for the president. >> jennifer: i know. >> eliot: people look at mitt romney and say, president obama hope and change -- >> jennifer: exactly, but he has to say my tax plan and your tax plan are completely different. i believe we have to invest in this nation in order to be great. and the president has such an opportunity on romney's tax plan. >> john: i think the president was cut off guard when governor romney said i don't want to cut
taxes for the wealthy. well your budget certainly has that. and that's a what are you talking about willis moment that the president let fly over his head. i think in a free society based on democracy and liberty you have this on pbs for two hours every week -- i don't understand -- why do we get to have 7,000 primary debates and only three for president, and more so -- i'm one of those americans who wants to see a debate that allows the major third-party candidates to take part. i want to see them on the same stage. i believe in run off elections. i think that's is good for democracy and that would get way more people engaged in the process.
>> eliot: did the lincoln douglas debates work? what i enjoy most is when they are actually engaging with each other. >> john: the courts were there, but the structure was timed in. so they didn't need a moderator. >> jennifer: i think one of the issues is mitt romney saying that he is bipartisan and he can demonstrate a history of bipartisanship in massachusetts. on social media there was some tweeting about this especially from massachusetts legislatures who said he was absolutely not bipartisan, he put a chord across think governor's door and never asked us to cross. >> eliot: romney can point to the health care plan. >> john: president obama can say
guess what when i passed your health care plan i had no republican votes. it was nothing but a compromise. this thing is so watered down dick cheney could pour it on [ inaudible ] in get-mo. >> eliot: way, say that again. [ laughter ] >> john: i like the affordable care act but it's so watered down you could pour it on wildfires. and if the president says i angered the liberals because they wanted single payer, i put in place a plan that was implemented by you mr. governor romney. i didn't just compromise, i crossed over to your side and y'all still wouldn't support me. >> eliot: you have persuaded just whether he can persuade whoever is in the middle, the
undecided category who knows. the line between benghazi and syria worries me in the sense that i think it has become the image of the president's foreign policy. how does the president say syria and benghazi do not capture what we have accomplished. >> jennifer: but what would mitt romney do different? >> eliot: you are absolutely right. but where we navigated the arab spring -- >> jennifer: remind people of that. the incident in benghazi is a tragedy, but syria is totally different from benghazi. you are saying the whole thing wraps together making him look weak -- >> eliot: exactly. >> jennifer: he goes right at mitt romney and saying are you
saying you would send american men and women into war in syria when we don't know who the next leader is going to be? and the same answer in afghanistan. do you agree we should be out of afghanistan in 2014? it's the same -- would you go and bomb iran? is that what you would you do? >> eliot: i think these are correct arguments, but i hope they register emotionally -- would you agree with me emotionally the debate about foreign policy shifted recently? >> jennifer: it has, but he can shift it back. >> eliot: even even tonight we're seeing the little things on the bottom of the screen saying benghazi-gate. we are now a mere 28 seconds away from the opening bell. which will be an exciting